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The Rantin Laddie

No: 240; variant: 240C

  1. ‘AFT hae I playd at cards and dice For the love o a bonny rantin laddie, But now I maun sit i my father’s kitchen-nook, And sing, Hush, balow, my baby.
  2. ‘If I had been wise, and had taen advice, And dane as my bonny love bade me, I would hae been married at Martinmass, And been wi my rantin laddie.
  3. ‘But I was na wise, I took nae advice, Did not as my bonny love bade me, And now I maun sit by mysel i the nook, And rock my bastard baby.
  4. ‘If I had horse at my command, As often I had many, I would ride on to the Castle o Aboyne, Wi a letter to my rantin laddie.’
  5. Down the stair her father came, And looke:d proud and saucy: ‘Who is the man, and what is his name, That ye ca your rantin laddie?
  6. ‘Is he a lord, or is he a laird? Or is he but a caddie? Or is it the young Earl o Aboyne That ye ca your rantin laddie?’
  7. ‘He is a young and noble lord, He never was a caddie; It is the noble Earl o Aboyne That I ca my rantin laddie.’
  8. ‘Ye shall hae a horse at your command, As ye had often many, To go to the Castle o Aboyne, Wi a letter to your rantin laddie.
  9. ‘Where will I get a little page, Where will I get a caddie, That will run quick to bonny Aboyne, Wi this letter to my rantin laddie?’
  10. Then out spoke the young scullion-boy, Said, Here am I, a caddie; I will run on to bonny Aboyne, Wi the letter to your rantin laddie.
  11. ‘Now when ye come to bonny Deeside, Where woods are green and bonny, There will ye see the Earl o Aboyne, Among the bushes mony.
  12. ‘And when ye come to the lands o Aboyne, Where all around is bonny, Ye’ll take your hat into your hand, Gie this letter to my rantin laddie.’
  13. When he came near the banks of Dee, The birks were blooming bonny, And there he saw the Earl o Aboyne, Among the bushes mony.
  14. ‘Where are ye going, my bonny boy? Where are ye going, my caddie?’ ‘I am going to the Castle o Aboyne, Wi a letter to the rantin laddie.’
  15. ‘See yonder is the castle then, My young and handsome caddie, And I myself am the Earl o Aboyne, Tho they ca me the rantin laddie.’
  16. ‘O pardon, my lord, if I’ve done wrong; Forgive a simple caddie; O pardon, pardon, Earl o Aboyne, I said but what she bade me.’
  17. ‘Ye have done no wrong, my bonny boy, Ye’ve done no wrong, my caddie;’ Wi hat in hand he bowed low, Gave the letter to the rantin laddie.
  18. When young Aboyne looked the letter on, O but he blinkit bonny! But ere he read four lines on end The tears came trickling mony.
  19. ‘My father will no pity shew, My mother still does slight me, And a’ my friends have turned from me, And servants disrespect me.’
  20. ‘Who are they dare be so bold To cruelly use my lassie? But I’ll take her to bonny Aboyne, Where oft she did caress me.
  21. ‘Go raise to me five hundred men, Be quick and make them ready; Each on a steed, to haste their speed, To carry home my lady.’
  22. As they rode on thro Buchanshire, The company were many, Wi a good claymore in every hand, That glance:d wondrous bonny.
  23. When he came to her father’s gate, He called for his lady: ‘Come down, come down, my bonny maid, And speak wi your rantin laddie.’
  24. When she was set on high horseback, Rowd in the Highland plaidie, The bird i the bush sang not so sweet As sung this bonny lady.
  25. As they rode on thro Buchanshire, He cried, Each Lowland lassie, Lay your love on some lowland lown, And soon will he prove fause t’ ye.
  26. ‘But take my advice, and make your choice Of some young Highland laddie, Wi bonnet and plaid, whose heart is staid, And he will not beguile ye.’
  27. As they rode on thro Garioch land, He rode up in a fury, And cried, Fall back, each saucy dame, Let the Countess of Aboyne before ye.